KR100976855B1 - A method and apparatus for fabricating a composite item - Google Patents

A method and apparatus for fabricating a composite item Download PDF

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Publication number
KR100976855B1
KR100976855B1 KR1020077024806A KR20077024806A KR100976855B1 KR 100976855 B1 KR100976855 B1 KR 100976855B1 KR 1020077024806 A KR1020077024806 A KR 1020077024806A KR 20077024806 A KR20077024806 A KR 20077024806A KR 100976855 B1 KR100976855 B1 KR 100976855B1
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South Korea
Prior art keywords
course
ply
composite
layup
robotic
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KR1020077024806A
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Korean (ko)
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KR20070119712A (en
Inventor
로저 제이. 레뎃
아놀드 제이. 로더
트레버 엠. 맥도날드
케빈 씨. 베럿
데이비드 분스트라
존 이. 예스트라우
안토니오 엠. 페르레이라
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더 보잉 컴파니
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Priority to US11/116,222 priority Critical patent/US7766063B2/en
Priority to US11/116,222 priority
Application filed by 더 보잉 컴파니 filed Critical 더 보잉 컴파니
Publication of KR20070119712A publication Critical patent/KR20070119712A/en
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Publication of KR100976855B1 publication Critical patent/KR100976855B1/en

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C70/00Shaping composites, i.e. plastics material comprising reinforcements, fillers or preformed parts, e.g. inserts
    • B29C70/04Shaping composites, i.e. plastics material comprising reinforcements, fillers or preformed parts, e.g. inserts comprising reinforcements only, e.g. self-reinforcing plastics
    • B29C70/28Shaping operations therefor
    • B29C70/54Component parts, details or accessories; Auxiliary operations, e.g. feeding or storage of prepregs or SMC after impregnation or during ageing
    • B29C70/545Perforating, cutting or machining during or after moulding
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C70/00Shaping composites, i.e. plastics material comprising reinforcements, fillers or preformed parts, e.g. inserts
    • B29C70/04Shaping composites, i.e. plastics material comprising reinforcements, fillers or preformed parts, e.g. inserts comprising reinforcements only, e.g. self-reinforcing plastics
    • B29C70/28Shaping operations therefor
    • B29C70/30Shaping by lay-up, i.e. applying fibres, tape or broadsheet on a mould, former or core; Shaping by spray-up, i.e. spraying of fibres on a mould, former or core
    • B29C70/38Automated lay-up, e.g. using robots, laying filaments according to predetermined patterns
    • B29C70/386Automated tape laying [ATL]
    • B29C70/388Tape placement heads, e.g. component parts, details or accessories
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C2793/00Shaping techniques involving a cutting or machining operation
    • B29C2793/0027Cutting off
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T156/00Adhesive bonding and miscellaneous chemical manufacture
    • Y10T156/10Methods of surface bonding and/or assembly therefor
    • Y10T156/1052Methods of surface bonding and/or assembly therefor with cutting, punching, tearing or severing
    • Y10T156/108Flash, trim or excess removal

Abstract

An apparatus for manufacturing a composite part is provided that includes an end effector 32, a robotic conveyor 12, a sensor 38, and a cutting assembly 48. The end effector applies course 28 to the layup frame. The robotic conveyor determines the position of the end effector. The sensor senses the edge of the previously applied course. The cutting system cuts the cross-sectional contour on the course according to the sensed edge.

Description

Composite component manufacturing apparatus and method {A METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR FABRICATING A COMPOSITE ITEM}

The present invention relates generally to ply placement devices, and more particularly to methods and devices for placing plies on a surface.

Composite parts generally consist of layers of materials stacked on each other. These layers are often called partial or full plies. For structures that exceed the useful material width, each layer typically consists of a series of strips or courses of material arranged to some extent overlapping or adjoining each other. Each ply may be in the form of woven fibers, unidirectional fibrous material, metal foils, adhesive film, or various other structures of a fabric. Uni-reflective fiber materials are often referred to as "tape". The fibers may be composed of a number of artificial or natural materials, such as glass fibers, graphite, Kevlar®, and the like.
The courses are generally placed on a tool or frame along the "natural path" of the course material. The term "natural path" refers to the path that the course material will follow when rolled out onto the surface of the tool. Deviation from the natural path generally occurs by applying a force across the width of the course material. Tapes are generally harder than fabrics and tend to resist the forces to a greater extent. When the applied force exceeds the flexing capacity of the material, wrinkles or bridges are formed in the course material. In addition, the wider the width of the course, the more likely there is wrinkles in the course material.
Tape courses are typically applied from edge to edge. In order to reduce internal voids, it is generally advantageous to reduce the tolerance or gap distance between the tape courses. For example, in relatively high technical industries, such as the aerospace industry, the gap distance can be fixed at 0.10 '' or less. For flat or cylindrical composite parts, the natural path of each course is aligned with the adjacent courses. However, for contoured parts, the natural path of adjacent courses may tend to cause the courses to converge or diverge. In order to prevent such departures from diverging or overlapping the courses beyond the tolerances, conventional automated tape lamination machines ("ATLMs") generally have a relatively large number of relatively narrower Use course materials. Unfortunately, using narrower course materials reduces lay-down rates.
Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide an apparatus and method that is capable of at least to some extent overcome the aforementioned disadvantages.

The above needs are met by the present invention to a significant extent, in one aspect an apparatus and method are provided for accurately placing plies on a substrate in certain embodiments.
Embodiments of the present invention relate to apparatus for making composite components. The device includes an end effector, a robotic vehicle, a sensor and a cutting assembly. The end effector applies the course to a layup tool. The robotic conveyor determines the position of the end effector. The sensor senses the edge of the previously applied course. The cutting assembly cuts a profile on the course in response to the sensed edge.
Another embodiment of the invention is directed to an apparatus for manufacturing a composite part. The apparatus comprises a generating means, a forwarding means, a sensing means and a cutting means. The generating means creates a partial vacuum between the fly material and the layup mold. The advancing means advances the ply material and partial vacuum along the layup frame. The sensing means detects the edge of the previously applied course of the ply material. The cutting means cuts the cross-sectional contour on the ply material in accordance with the sensed edge.
Yet another embodiment of the present invention is directed to a method of making a composite part. In the method, a partial vacuum is generated between the fly material and the layup mold, and the partial vacuum and the fly material are advanced along the layup mold. In addition, an edge of a previously applied course of the ply material is sensed and the cross-sectional contour on the ply material is cut in response to the sensed edge.
Thus, specific embodiments of the present invention have been outlined more broadly so that the detailed description of the invention herein may be better understood and the current contribution to the art may be better appreciated. Of course, further embodiments of the invention will now be described which will be the subject of the claims set out below and appended to the claims.
In this regard, prior to describing at least one embodiment of the present invention in detail, its adaptation is not limited to the details of arrangement and arrangement of components disclosed in the drawings or described in the following detailed description of the invention. It should be understood that. The invention may be carried out and carried out in various ways, and may be embodied in embodiments other than those described above. Also, the terms and expressions employed in this specification, as well as the abstract, are for the purpose of description and should not be construed as limiting.
As such, one of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the concepts upon which this disclosure is based may be used in other configurations, methods, and systems for carrying out some of the purposes of the present invention. Therefore, it is important to regard such equivalent construction as included in the claims without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention.
An apparatus for manufacturing a composite part includes an end effector for applying a course to a layup mold; A robotic conveyor for determining the position of the end effector; A sensor for sensing an edge of a previously applied course; And a cutting assembly that cuts the cross-sectional contour on the course in response to the sensed edge. The apparatus comprises a plurality of end effectors; And a plurality of robotic conveyors for jointly manufacturing the composite component. The composite component may be composed of a plurality of plies, the plurality of robotic conveyors jointly applying one ply of the plurality of plies distributed from a plurality of end effectors. Further, in the apparatus, the plurality of robotic conveyors can weave the course jointly through the partial plies of the plurality of plies. The apparatus may further comprise guide means for guiding the robotic conveyor. In the apparatus, the guide means comprises: a laser emitter for emitting a signal for guiding the robotic conveyor; A laser receiver disposed on the robotic conveyor for receiving a signal and controlling the robotic conveyor in response to the received signal; And a control unit receiving a command from a user and sending a command to the laser emitter. The apparatus may further comprise a vacuum placement shoe that creates a partial vacuum between the course and the layup mold, the course being pressed onto the mold by atmospheric pressure.
An apparatus for manufacturing a composite part includes: means for generating a partial vacuum between a fly material and a layup mold, means for advancing the ply material and partial vacuum along the layup mold, a previously applied course of the fly material Means for detecting an edge of the substrate and means for cutting a cross-sectional contour on the ply material in response to the sensed edge. The apparatus may further comprise means for essentially simultaneously advancing a plurality of corresponding plies of material and a plurality of partial vacuums along the layup frame to jointly manufacture the composite component. The apparatus may further comprise means for producing a material of the plurality of corresponding plies and a plurality of partial vacuums and one ply of the composite component. The apparatus may further comprise means for weaving a plurality of corresponding plies of material to produce the composite part. The apparatus may further comprise means for guiding advancement of ply material and partial vacuum along the layup frame. The apparatus further includes means for emitting a signal to guide the advancement of the fly material and the partial vacuum along the layup frame, and means for controlling the advancement of the fly material and the partial vacuum along the layup frame in response to the signal. Can be. The apparatus comprises means for sensing the temperature of the ply material; And means for adjusting the temperature of the ply material in response to the sensed temperature.
The method of making a composite part includes generating a partial vacuum between the ply material and the layup mold; Advancing the ply material and the partial vacuum along the layup frame; Detecting an edge of a previously applied course of the ply material; And cutting the cross-sectional contour on the ply material in response to the sensed edge. The method may further comprise basically simultaneously advancing the plurality of corresponding ply materials and the plurality of partial vacuums along the layup frame to jointly manufacture the composite part. The method may further comprise manufacturing the ply of the composite component by a plurality of corresponding ply materials and a plurality of partial vacuums. The method may further comprise weaving a plurality of corresponding ply materials to produce the composite part. The method may further comprise guiding advancement of the ply material and the partial vacuum along the layup frame. In the method, the guide step comprises the steps of: radiating a signal for guiding advancement of the ply material and partial vacuum along the layup frame; Controlling the advance of the ply material and the partial vacuum along the layup frame in response to the signal. The method includes sensing the temperature of the ply material; And adjusting the temperature of the ply material in response to the sensed temperature.

1 is a perspective view of a machine assisted laminator (MAL) (machine assisted laminator) in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

2 is a perspective view of the front side of an end effector suitable for use with the MAL of FIG. 1.

3 is a perspective view of the back side of an end effector suitable for use with the MAL of FIG. 1.

4 is an exploded view of a fly layup according to an embodiment of the present invention.

5 is a block diagram of a machine assisted laminator system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

6 is a block diagram of a system architecture suitable for use within the system according to FIG. 5.

7 is a flowchart illustrating steps of a method according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Hereinafter, embodiments of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to exemplary drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout.
As shown in FIG. 1, a machine assisted laminator (MAL) 10 suitable for use in an embodiment of the invention includes one or more positions of course material 14 along frame 16 to create a part 18. Robotic conveyor 12. The robotic conveyor 12 is guided by a guide system 20 (guide means). The guide system 20 includes one or more laser emitters 22, a laser receiver 24, and a control unit 26. The control unit 26 is configured to receive a command from the user and send a command to the laser emitter 22. The laser emitter 22 is configured to send a signal through the laser to the laser receiver 24 to control the movement of the robotic conveyor 12. In this way, a set of computer readable instructions are used by the MAL 10 to manufacture the component 18. A more detailed description of the robotic conveyor 12 and the guide system can be found in US patent application Ser. No. 10 / 986,292 filed on Nov. 12, 2004 (name of the invention; optical laser guide system apparatus and method).
In one embodiment, the MAL 10 includes two or more robotic conveyors 12 configured to cooperatively apply the course material 14 to the mold 16. For example, as shown in FIG. 1, each robotic conveyor 12 initiates the placement of the course material 14 at or near the center of the mold 16, and then outwards and in other portions of the mold 16. Work collaboratively. Thus, there is an advantage of the embodiment of the present invention in that the material lay down rates are increased compared to ATLM with only one conventional end effector. In another example, the robotic conveyor 12 is configured to weave together two or more layers of course material 14 together on the mold 16. Thus, there is an advantage of the embodiment of the present invention that the structural uniformity of the part 18 is increased and the peeling of the part 18 is reduced by weaving the multi-layer course material 14 together.
In another embodiment of the present invention, MAL 10 is a robotic armature or gantry-type position configured to position course material on frame 16 or to control the placement of course material. And a determining device. In a particular example, the gantry positioning device is configured to control ten moving axes (five axes of the gantry and five axes of the end effector). However, it should be understood that the specific number of axes may depend on the specific operating conditions, and therefore the number of axes controlled is not critical to the present invention. In yet another embodiment, a set of computer readable instructions is used to control the movement of the mold 16. For example, the mold 16 includes a rotating mandrel or XY table.
Each robotic conveyor 12 is configured to be able to apply on the mold 16 the course material 14 dispensed from the end effector 32. In various forms of embodiment, the compaction roller 12, sweep and / or vacuum placement shoes allow the robotic conveyor 12 to apply the course material 14 to the mold 16. ) May be included. The mold 16 is configured to provide a properly stable and finished surface for the ply placement. The characteristics of the mold 16, such as size, shape and contour, are based on the design parameters of the part 18. A part 18 composed of a number of courses 28 is shown in FIG. 1. Each layer of course 28 located on mold 16 or substrate 30 is described as a ply, and part 18 is typically made of a plurality of plies. Substrate 30 includes a surface of mold 16 and / or a previously applied course 28.
2 is a front perspective view of an end effector 32 suitable for use with the MAL 10. The end effector 32 is installed on a robotic conveyor 12 or any suitable positioning device such as, for example, a robotic armature, a gantry type device, and is positioned by this positioning device. As shown in FIG. 2, the end effector 32 includes a feed roll 34 for dispensing the course material 14. This feed roll 34 is supported by the support 36. In a particular embodiment, the support 36 includes a pair of rollers to facilitate the rolling of the feed roll 34. In this way, the course material 14 is withdrawn from the feed roll 34. In particular, the rollers facilitate the non-powered or "free wheeled" take-off of the course material 14 from the feed roll 34. That is, the course material 14 is withdrawn from the feed roll 34 through the movement of the end effector 32 without the need for a relatively complex servo motor and control system. Therefore, the reliability is improved while being simplified.
Course material 14 includes any suitable course material. Examples of suitable course materials include various fibers, films, foils, and the like. Specific examples of fibers include glass, aramid, carbon, and various other fibers in the form of unidirectional “tape”, woven fabrics, and twinaxial fabrics. Moreover, the course material 14 may be pre-impregnated with a resin or other such bonding material. The course material 14 optionally includes a backing or separator film 40 to substantially prevent the course material 14 from adhering to itself while in roll form.
The end effector 32 further includes a sensor 38. Sensor 38 includes any suitable sensing device. Examples of suitable sensing devices include systems employing various forms of electromagnetic radiation, such as tactile, optical, and infra red (IR), microwave, and the like. In a particular example, and as discussed further herein, the sensor 38 includes a machine vision system configured to determine the position of the edge 42 of the previously applied course 28. In various other embodiments, the sensor 38 may include an array of fillers in contact with the substrate 30 to sense a difference in height and / or a photodetector for detecting a difference in incident light reflected from the substrate 30. It includes an array.
Typically MAL 10 applies course material 14 onto substrate 30 along a “natural path”. In general, the natural path is described in terms of the path taken when the course material 14 is released on the substrate 30. In particular, the center line 44 of the natural path is geometrically described as a survey curve on the substrate 30. That is, the shortest distance between two points located on the substrate 30.
2 additionally illustrates an interface 46 located between two adjacent courses 28. This boundary 46 generally coincides with the warp direction of the course 28 which is disposed laterally. The boundary 46 may be somewhat out of the longitudinal direction of one or both of the courses 28 arranged on the side according to the tapered or cross-sectional contour of the course 28. Typically, part 18 includes multiple plies, although it is not unusual for two or more plies to lie in the same or nearly the same longitudinal direction. Plies lying in the same longitudinal direction are generally separated by several plies lying in different longitudinal directions. Nevertheless, the boundary 46 of the plies lying in the same or similar longitudinal direction is preferably not in a straight line. It is an advantage of the embodiment if the alignment of the boundary 46 is determined and adjusted, or if it is found to be straight.
3 is a rear perspective view of an end effector 32 suitable for use with the MAL 10. As shown in FIG. 3, the end effector 32 further includes a cutting assembly 48 configured to cut the course material 14. Generally, the cutting assembly 48 performs a cutting operation to create a lateral edge cross-sectional contour. Moreover, the cutting assembly performs longitudinal cutting operations such as leading and trailing edge cutting. The cutting assembly 48 includes any suitable cutting device 50 that can operate to cut or otherwise cut the course material 14. Suitable devices include ultrasonic knives, saws, lasers, and the like. Moreover, the cutting assembly 48 includes an actuator 52 for positioning the cutting device 50 along the rail 54 across the course material 14. Actuator 52 is configured to respond to a signal from a control device.
In operation, MAL 10 is configured to apply courses 28 to create a ply of part 18. The course material 14 is typically applied according to the manufacturer's specifications. For example, courses of unidirectional tape are typically applied or adjacent within a gap tolerance of about 0.10 inches that do not have overlapping tolerances. In another example, the fabric typically does not have a gap tolerance, but rather may have an overlap tolerance of 0.25-0.50 inches. Depending on the contour of the substrate 30, the natural path of the course can converge or diverge beyond these tolerances. In an embodiment, the path of course 28 is defined such that overlap 56 occurs. The overlap 56 is configured such that each edge of the adjacent courses 28 does not go further than the gap tolerance at a relatively maximum divergence between two adjacent courses 28. If the overlap 56 exceeds the overlap tolerance, the extra course material 14 is removed. The extra amount removed is determined based on the sensed edge of the course 28 previously applied. For example, when applying a unidirectional tape, the cutting assembly 48 is controlled to cut the cross-sectional contour along the edge of the course material 14 to essentially match the edge of the previously applied course 28.
In this embodiment, the cutting assembly 48 is configured to function with a vacuum placement shoe (S). In general, the vacuum batch shoe S is configured to generate a partial vacuum between the course material 14 and the substrate 30. As the end effector 32 advances and the course material 14 leaves the vacuum batch shoe S, the course material 14 is pressed on the substrate 30 via atmospheric pressure. In particular, the vacuum batch shoe S is configured to form a seal on a portion of the substrate 30 and to generate a partial vacuum in the sealed area. The course material 14 is supplied through the sealed area and pressed onto the substrate 30 via the atmospheric pressure. A more detailed description of a vacuum batch shoe is described in US patent application 10 / 437,067, filed May 14, 2003; Vacuum Assisted Ply Placement Shoe and Method.
4 is an exploded view of a fly layup in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 4, the ply 58 is consolidated over the mold 16. That is, the course 28 is applied to the mold 16, which together produces the ply 58. In the example shown in FIG. 4, a separator film 40 is shown as strip 40A and strip 40B, which strip 40A is a course material 14 used to produce a ply 58. The portion is covered and the strip 40B covers the extra course material 14B that has been trimmed. In another embodiment, the separator film 40 basically remains intact during the edge cutting operation. For example, the cutting assembly 48 is disposed on the side of the course material 14 rather than on the separation film 40 side, and the cutting assembly 48 has substantially the separation film 40 when the course material 14 is cut. It is configured to remain uncut.
According to an embodiment, the separation film 40 is removed by a subsequent manufacturing process of the ply 58. An advantage of this embodiment is that the separation film 40 substantially prevents the extra course material 14B from attaching to the previously applied course 28. As shown in FIG. 4, separation film 40A substantially prevents the extra course material 14B from attaching to previously applied course 28. Moreover, separation film 40A facilitates the protection of ply 58 from physical contacts such as scratches, abrasion, and the like, as well as debris and dust. In various embodiments, the separator film 40 is removed during or prior to the continuous application of the course material 14 to the substrate 30, such as when the edges of the continuous course of the course material 14 overlap. . In such a case, the take up reel is configured to accumulate, for example, the separation films 40, 40A and / or 40B and / or extra course material 14B. A suitable take-up reel for use with the MAL 10 is a US patent application filed on October 29, 2004, entitled "Automated fabric layup system and method." 10 / 975,433.
5 is a block diagram of a system 60 suitable for use with the MAL 10. As shown in FIG. 5, the system 60 includes a controller 62. The controller 62 may be operable to execute computer readable code. In this regard, system 60 includes a set of computer readable instructions or code 64. According to code 64, controller 62 is configured to access file 66. File 66 includes a computer readable model of a composite item, a computer readable display of the surface of the layup frame or frame 16, a computer readable display of the edge of the frame 16, and the composite material. The thickness of the part, source code based on at least one of the composite part and the frame 16, a set of movement instructions based on the source code, data gathered during laying up the composite part, and a time stamp. (time stamp) information, position information, identification number, and the like. The controller 62 is further configured to communicate across the network 68. Network 68 is optionally included to provide additional data storage and / or processing capabilities. In this regard, the network includes a database 70 and a server 72. Database 70 is configured to store a copy of code 64 and / or file 66. Server 72 is configured to generate, store, and perform any appropriate processing of code 64 and / or file 66. In this manner, composite parts generated in a computer-aided design (CAD) machine, such as server 72, may be transferred to MAL 10, for example. Moreover, server 72 may be operable to send updates of code 64 and / or file 66 via network 68. Moreover, system 60 optionally includes a memory 74. Once memory 74 is present, memory 74 is configured to store a copy of code 64 and / or file 66.
Furthermore, FIG. 5 shows a positioning device controller 76 for controlling a robotic vehicle 12 and / or other such positioning device. The positioning device controller 76 is optionally included in the system 60 in accordance with the needs of the various actuators and / or servo motors of the MAL 10. That is, a plurality of actuators and / or servo motors adjust the rotation, position, speed, direction, etc. of the various components of the MAL 10 in accordance with the particular configuration of the MAL 10. In particular, these actuators and / or servo motors of the robotic conveyor and / or positioning device advance at least the robotic conveyor 12, or otherwise end effector 32 and / or MAL. It is configured to adjust the various axes of (10). Once the positioning device controller 76 is present, the parameters of the positioning device controller 76 are based on the specifications of the various actuators, servos, and / or controllers 62. Once the positioning device controller 76 is present, the positioning device controller 76 is configured to control all or part of these actuators and / or servo motors. Moreover, these actuators and / or servo motors can optionally be operated to be directly controlled by the controller 62, so that the system 60 does not have to include the positioning device controller 76.
Moreover, the controller 62 is configured to receive signals from the sensor 38 and determine the position of the edge 42 of the course 28 previously applied in response to these signals. For example, by using an optical sensor, an image signal is received from the sensor 38 and the controller 62, and a difference between the edge 42 and the underlying substrate 30 is determined using an image analysis algorithm. To identify. In certain instances, separation film 40 is white or light in color, and course material 14 and mold 16 are black or relatively dark in color. Thus, by identifying the boundary of the white and black regions, the position of the edge is determined. In another example, the course material 14 is of a relatively light color and the separator film 40 is of a relatively dark color. Likewise, other differential optical properties can be used to determine the edges. In another example, the sensor 38 is in contact with the substrate and the feeler used to determine the height difference between the substrate 30 where the signal from the sensor 38 is located below the pre-applied course 28. It includes.
The controller 62 is further configured to adjust any suitable actuator such as, for example, servo motors, racks and pinions, linear drive belts, linear slides, XY tables, pneumatic rams, linear actuators and the like. In particular, the controller 62 is configured to control the operation of the actuator 52 in response to the sensed edge of the pre-applied course 28. In this way, the cross-sectional contour is cut off on the edge of the course material 14 by a cutting assembly substantially coincident with the sensed edge.
System 60 further includes a plurality of sensors, optionally configured to sense various suitable operating conditions and attributes of MAL 10. Examples of suitable attributes include the temperature of the course material 14, the temperature at the location where the separation film 40 is separated from the course material 14, the feed rate and direction, the material placement, and the backing. integrity), supply of course material 14, or the like.
System 60 optionally includes a heater 80. The heater 80 includes, for example, electric heating elements and blowers, infrared devices, induction heaters and / or any suitable heating device such as the same. In a particular example, the heater 80 includes a heating element and a blower configured to send an air stream of properly heated air. Moreover, the heater 80 optionally includes a nib heater, chute heater and release point blower. Once these devices are present, these devices are controlled by the controller 62. The nib heater applies a controlled amount of heat to the mold 16, the course material 14, and / or the separation film 40 in response to the control signal generated by the controller 62. Similarly, the chute heater applies a controlled amount of heat to the course material 14 and / or the separation film 40 in response to the control signal generated by the controller 62. Furthermore, the breakaway point blower sends a flow of air toward the breakaway point in response to a control signal generated by the controller 62.
6 is a system structure of a controller 62 suitable for use with the system 60. As shown in FIG. 6, the controller 62 includes a processor 90. The processor 90 includes a power supply 92, a memory 94, a clock (clock) 96, an analog / digital converter (A / D) 98, and an input / output (I / O) port 100. Is operatively connected. I / O port 100 is configured to receive signals from any suitably attached electronics and to transmit these signals to A / D 98 and / or processor 90. If the signal is in analog form, the signal can be transmitted via A / D 98. In this regard, the A / D 98 is configured to receive signals in analog form and convert them into corresponding digital form signals. In contrast, the A / D 98 receives signals in digital form from the processor 90, converts these signals into analog form, and transmits the analog signals to the I / O port 100. In this manner, an electronic device configured to receive analog signals may be in communication with the processor 90.
Processor 90 is configured to receive signals from A / D 98 and / or I / O port 100 or transmit signals to A / D 98 and / or I / O port 100. . Moreover, processor 90 is configured to receive a time signal from clock 96. Moreover, the processor 90 is configured to store electronic data in or retrieve electronic data from the memory 94. Moreover, the processor 90 determines signals operable to adjust the positioning device controller 76 and thereby applies various forces and / or servos of the MAL 10 to apply a specific force and / or to rotate at a particular angle. It is configured to control the motor.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, processor 90 is configured to execute code 64. Based on this series of commands and signals from the various components of the MAL 10, the processor 90 is configured to determine a series of control signals and send these signals to the heater 80, the cutting assembly 48, and the like. It is.
7 illustrates the steps associated with a method 110 of placing a ply to produce a composite structure or product. Prior to the commencement of the method 110, the composite product is designed, and based on the design, a series of computer readable instructions are generated that specify the properties of the composite product, such as the part 18. Moreover, the maximum width of the material is determined based on the contour of the part 18. For example, if the contour along the course path is determined and the contour exceeds the suggested contour for a particular width of the course material, a narrower or otherwise manageable material is selected and the course path is recalculated as appropriate.
Moreover, the boundary 46 between the plies lying in the similar longitudinal direction is determined. If two or more borders 46 substantially overlap, the course path of at least one ply is adjusted or offset and the course path is recalculated as appropriate. Computer readable instructions are used to control the operation of the MAL 10. Moreover, a tool or tool, such as mold 16, is constructed based on the design of the composite product. Moreover, the feed roll 34 is installed in the end effector 32, and the course material 14 is mounted through the end effector 32.
Moreover, the coordinated movement of the plurality of robotic conveyors 12 is optionally determined. Once this coordinated movement is present, the adjusted movement is stored in file 66 and used to manufacture part 18. Examples of coordinated movements basically include instructions for the plurality of robotic conveyors 12 to simultaneously apply the course material 14 to the mold 16, whereby the material drop rate is reduced compared to conventional ATLMs. In other instances, the integrity of the part 18 is increased.
In step 112, the method 110 is initiated by operating various components of the MAL 10 described above to execute computer readable instructions.
In step 114, the course material 14 is adjusted by the operation of the robotic conveyor 12 (positioning device) and / or the feed roll 34. For example, the course material 14 is positioned to be cut by the cutting assembly 48 in response to an end of the course material 14 that is different from the edge of the mold 16. In the embodiment, it should be noted that the course material 14 is basically always cut along one or both edges (cross-sectional contours), and step 114 is optionally performed to position the course material 14 for tip cutting. do. It is an advantage of this embodiment that a substantially continuous band of edge material is maintained through the placement of course material 14 to facilitate removal of excess course material 14B from mold 16.
In step 116, the instructions from pile 66 are used to cut the appropriate tip and / or cross-sectional contours for course material 14 at the start of the course. In response to the command, the cutting assembly 48 cuts the leading end and / or the cross-sectional contour. Moreover, cross-sectional contours and diagonal cuts are performed by the movement of the end effector 32 in relation to the mold 16. In this regard, the cutting operation and the movement of the robotic conveyor 12 are generally performed simultaneously. Moreover, while the course material 14 is advancing, an edge cross-sectional cut based on the pile 66 is performed on the course material 14 by the cutting assembly 48. In another embodiment, the edge of the previously applied course 28 is sensed in a manner similar to step 120 and the cross-sectional contour of the course material 14 in a manner similar to step 122 before and / or during step 116. Is cut.
In step 118, the course material 14 is "tacked" to the substrate 30. Substrate 30 includes at least framework 16 and / or previously applied course 28. For example, the robotic conveyor 12 is controlled to move the end effector 32 to the starting position relative to the course 28 and in the appropriate direction. A downward force is applied to the course material 14 to push the course material 14 onto the mold 16 with a force sufficient to adhere. Moreover, the position on the frame 16 is determined based on the series of computer readable instructions and / or the position of the previously positioned course material 14. As described herein, the path of the course 28 located near the previously applied course 28 is offset to cause an overlap 56 on the previously applied course 28. This overlap 56, or a portion thereof, is cut in step 122 while forming the cross-sectional contour of the edge of the course material 14.
In step 120, if a previously applied course 28 is present, this previously applied course 28 is detected. That is, when applying the second course 28, the edge of the first course is sensed. In particular, the edge 42 of the first course 28 is sensed at the boundary between the first course 28 and the second course 28 path. In the same way, the following courses 28 are sensed.
In step 122, a cross-sectional contour of the course material 14 is generated in response to the edge detected in step 120. For example, in response to the signal from the sensor 38, the controller 92 determines the cross-sectional contour corresponding to the sensed edge. The controller 92 further generates a signal for adjusting the cutting assembly 48 according to the determined cross-sectional appearance. These signals are sent to the actuator 52. In this way, a cross-sectional contour is created on course material 14 that substantially corresponds to previously applied course 28. Depending on the course material 14, a cross-sectional contour is created to overlap, contact or approach the edge of the previously applied course 28.
A more detailed description of this method of cutting and applying plies is described in US patent application Ser. No. 11 / 058,267, filed on February 16, 2005, in which the inventors are Roger J. LEDET, Trevor M. MCDONALD and Arnold J. LAUDER. designation; Slit-course Ply Placement Device and Method, the description of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
At step 124, the course material 14 is dispensed along a path across the mold 16. As described herein, in order to minimize deformation (eg, wrinkles) of the course material 14, this path is calculated to coincide with the "natural path", which is generally based on the predetermined contour of the frame 16. As the end effector 32 is controlled along a path across the mold 16, the course material 14 may be withdrawn from the feed roll 34 via the movement of the end effector 32 relative to the substrate 30. , Free rotation. That is, the fixed portion of the course material 14 functions to pull the course material 14 from the supply roll 34. In other embodiments, the course material 14 advances through the action of the feed roll 34, any suitable feed assembly, take-up roll, and the like. As the course material 14 is dispensed or applied, one or more edge cross-sectional contours of the course material 14 are cut as described in step 122 via the operation of the cutting assembly 48 in response to the edge detected in step 120. do.
In step 126, the placement of course material 14 on mold 16 is optionally evaluated. For example, the operator or sensor senses the relative position of the courses 28 and determines if the distance between these courses is within a predetermined tolerance. If the distance between these courses is not within a predetermined tolerance, an error may be generated at step 128. If the distance between these courses is within a predetermined tolerance, it is determined in step 130 whether the end of the path has been reached. In addition to the placement of the course material 14, wrinkles, bridges, foreign objects, debris, and the like are selectively sensed by the operator and / or sensor. If any such abnormality is detected, an error is generated. Additionally or alternatively, the placement of course 28 is optionally assessed upon completion of the ply. It is an advantage of embodiments that by leaving the separator film 40 on the course material 14 until completion of the ply 58, the ply 58 is protected from contamination and / or physical damage that may occur during the evaluation.
In step 130, it is determined whether the end of the course has been reached. In particular, it is determined whether the course material 14 approaching the cutting assembly 48 will be end cut. If based on the series of computer readable instructions, it is determined that the course material 14 has not advanced to the end of the course, the edge of the previously applied path is sensed at step 120. If it is determined that the course material 14 has advanced to the end of the course, the course material 14 is end cut in step 132.
In step 132, the course material (based on the series of computer readable instructions contained in the file 66, the direction of the previously positioned course material 14, and / or the location of the previously located course material 14). The end of 14 is cut off.
In step 134, it is determined whether placement of the course material 14 on the composite product is complete. For example, if all computer readable instructions in file 66 are completed, it may be determined whether placement of ply 58 for component 18 is complete, and MAL 10 may initiate another series of computer readable instructions. Until it is idle. If it is determined that the placement of the course material 14 for the part 18 has not been completed, additional course material 14 placement may be performed in step 114.
Following method 110, the composite product can be cured in any suitable manner. In the aerospace industry, thermosetting resins are generally used to pre-impregnate ply materials. These thermosetting resins are typically cured in a predetermined amount of time at elevated temperature and pressure. The time, pressure and temperature are selected based on the resin used and the size, thickness and the like of the composite product.
Although the example of the end effector 32 is shown to be controlled by the robotic conveyor 12, it is recognized that other control systems may be used. In this regard, a gantry system, robotic armature, mandrel or other such positioning device that controls and supports the movement of any suitable end effector is suitable for use with the end effector 32. The MAL 10 is also useful for placing plies for composite products in the aircraft industry, but is also suitable for use in other industries that make up composite products. These industries include, but are not limited to, automobiles, ships, spacecraft, architectural and consumer products.
Many features and advantages of the invention are apparent from the detailed description, and therefore, the claims are intended to protect all such features and advantages of the invention within the true intent and scope of the invention. Moreover, because many variations and modifications will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desirable to limit the invention to the precise construction and operation described and described, and therefore all suitable modifications and equivalents will fall within the scope of the invention. none.

Claims (21)

  1. An apparatus for manufacturing composite parts,
    An end effector for applying the course to the layup framework;
    A robotic conveyor for determining the position of the end effector;
    A sensor for sensing an edge of a previously applied course; And
    And a cutting assembly for cutting the cross-sectional contour of the later applied course in response to the sensed edge,
    The apparatus further comprises guide means for guiding the robotic conveyor;
    The guide means,
    A laser emitter for emitting a signal for guiding the robotic conveyor;
    A laser receiver disposed on the robotic conveyor for receiving the signal and controlling the robotic conveyor in response to the received signal; And
    And a control unit receiving a command from a user and sending a command to the laser emitter.
  2. The method of claim 1,
    A plurality of end effectors;
    And a plurality of robotic conveyors for jointly manufacturing the composite component.
  3. The method of claim 2,
    The composite component consists of a plurality of plies and the plurality of robotic conveyors enable to jointly apply one ply of the plurality of plies distributed from the plurality of end effectors. Manufacturing device.
  4. The method of claim 3,
    And said plurality of robotic conveyers incorporate the course jointly through a partial ply of a plurality of plies.
  5. delete
  6. The method of claim 1,
    Further comprising a vacuum batch shoe adapted to generate a partial vacuum between the course and layup mold,
    And the course is pressed onto the mold by atmospheric pressure.
  7. As a method of manufacturing a composite part,
    Creating a partial vacuum between the ply material and the layup mold;
    Advancing the ply material and the partial vacuum along the layup frame;
    Detecting an edge of a previously applied course of the ply material; And
    Cutting a cross-sectional contour on a later applied ply material in response to the sensed edge,
    The method further comprising guiding advancement of the ply material and the partial vacuum along the layup frame;
    The guide step,
    Radiating a signal along the layup frame to guide the advancement of the ply material and the partial vacuum;
    Controlling the advancement of the fly material and the partial vacuum along the layup frame in response to the signal.
  8. The method of claim 7, wherein
    And simultaneously advancing a plurality of corresponding ply materials and a plurality of partial vacuums along a layup frame to produce the composite part in a joint operation.
  9. The method of claim 8,
    Manufacturing a ply of the composite part by a plurality of corresponding ply materials and a plurality of partial vacuums;
    Further comprising weaving a plurality of corresponding ply materials to produce the composite part.
  10. delete
  11. The method of claim 7, wherein
    Sensing the temperature of the ply material;
    And controlling the temperature of the ply material in response to the sensed temperature.
  12. delete
  13. delete
  14. delete
  15. delete
  16. delete
  17. delete
  18. delete
  19. delete
  20. delete
  21. delete
KR1020077024806A 2005-04-28 2006-03-22 A method and apparatus for fabricating a composite item KR100976855B1 (en)

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US20090205767A1 (en) 2009-08-20
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DE602006010869D1 (en) 2010-01-14
US20060260751A1 (en) 2006-11-23
AT450362T (en) 2009-12-15
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US7766063B2 (en) 2010-08-03
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KR20070119712A (en) 2007-12-20
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